Kickoff: Sunday, October 23rd, 4:05 PM ET
Location: Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, Nevada
Betting Odds: LV -7, 44 total via PFF.com
Writer: Dustin Ludke (TheDunit13 on Twitter)
Davis Mills (Start, QB1)
Davis Mills has had a sub-par season so far. He has yet to pass for over 250 yards and has only thrown for touchdowns in three out of five games with five total for the season. He also has four interceptions on the season. He is completing only 62.7 % of his passes which puts him at 21st for the season. It hasn’t been great news for Mills, the Texans, and fantasy owners so far this season. The good news is that week 7 will right the ship. The Raiders are giving up the most fantasy points to quarterbacks. Giving up 25.17 points on average is a great indicator of a good week for Mills.
On top of that, the Texans are coming off their bye week which means they have had two weeks to prepare just for the Raiders. There should be a solid plan in place to give Mills reads and options that will accentuate his strengths and minimize his weaknesses. I’m starting him as a QB1.
Dameon Pierce (Start, RB2), Rex Burkhead (Sit, Flex)
The Bye week is meant for rest and planning for the future. Here is hoping that it wasn’t a cooling-off period for Dameon Pierce. He went into the bye with scores in his past three games. Pierce. over those last three games. was averaging 20 carries a game and saw just over four targets a game. He has been very efficient on those opportunities with 4.79 yards per carrying and 4.38 yards per reception. Going against the Raiders who are middle of the road at 17 giving up 21.78 points to fantasy points to running backs, should provide a solid opportunity for the rookie rusher. Pierce can be started as an Rb2 with an upside.
Rex Burkhead started the season off hot but has seen his snap percentage drop over the season. His value comes purely in the passing game after Week 1. Coming off the bye I believe that the Texans will work him into the offense more but will need to find the end zone to be fantasy relevant. He would be a risky flex play for normal fantasy lineups, but possibly a cheap DFS option.
Wide Receivers/ Tight Ends
Brandin Cooks (Start, WR3), Nico Collins (Start, Flex), Brevin Jordan (Sit) O.J. Howard (Sit)
It’s a two-man wide receiving group in Houston. It’s Brandin Cooks and Nico Collins. Outside of them Tyler Johnson, Chris Moore, and Phillip Dorsett haven’t caught a pass since Week 3, and on the season they have combined for nine receptions. Cooks has been the leading man with 42 targets and 235 yards. He doesn’t have the best matchup this week. He gets the Raiders’ secondary who are giving up the 13th most points to wide receivers at 35.54. But Cooks is projected to be covered by Nate Hobbs who PFF.com rates at 67.0 in coverage which is 39th out of 107 corners. I think coming out of the bye week, coach Lovie Smith will have a plan to get Cooks into better matchups. I’m still starting him as a WR3.
Nico Collins comes into the game not having scored on the season which is a huge disappointment for those believing in him. He is still catching 50% of his passes and has seen 27 targets on the season. His snap shares have increased every game so it looks as if the Texans are working him into the game plan more and more. He is a tall receiver at 6’4 so he can get jump balls over the smaller corners of the Raiders. If he pulls coverage from Amik Robertson or Rock Ya-Sin, Collins should be able to post solid numbers. The Texans are a run-first team but given the extra time to plan I expect Collins to be a solid flex play in week seven
The tight end has been a merry-go-round so far this season. Projected breakout Brevin Jordan has missed the past three games with an ankle injury. It remains to be seen if he can make it back even with the bye-week rest. O.J. Howards has benefited from Jordan’s absence. Howard has played on 75% or more snaps the past two games and in week four saw five targets. He only saw one the week after. It’s a touchdown-dependent position so I don’t believe you can start either with confidence.
Las Vegas Raiders
Derek Carr (Start, QB2)
The Raiders went out this offseason and added Davante Adams to give Derek Carr the weapons he needs. Carr has been good so far this season both in real football and for fantasy. He has thrown two touchdowns in all but one game and, outside of the three-interception week, he only has one more on the season. While Carr has been good he hasn’t been great. He has been just outside the QB1 range three times and a sit twice. He doesn’t get a great matchup in week seven coming out of the bye.
The Texans are rated 9th by PFF.com in coverage and are giving up the eight fewest points to quarterbacks according to fantasydata.com. He does benefit from coming off the bye week which allows him and the coaching staff time to plan. That is probably negated with the Texans also coming off the bye. I think Carr will be in the QB2 range. He still has some great weapons around him and the Raiders are passing the ball 63.14% of the time which is ninth most in the league.
Josh Jacobs (Start, RB1)
Coming into the season no one thought that the Raiders backfield would be a bell cow system yet heading into week seven that is where we are. Josh Jacobs, despite not having his fifth-year option picked up, is dominating the carry share in Vegas. He has 91 carries on the season. The next closest running back is Brandon Boldin with seven. Jacobs is coming off the bye hot. He has scored in the past two games and received 28 and 21 carries. His snap share also went up in those two games jumping from 65% to 85%. He has also seen five or more targets in his past three games. He gets an amazing matchup against the Texans that are giving up the most fantasy points to the running back position at 30.4. Jacobs has averaged 5.38 yards per carry so far this season and could smash that this week. With neither Bolden nor Zamir White having been involved this is Jacobs’s time to be an RB1. I do think coming off the bye that the Raiders will make an effort to work in other running backs but until we see it you can’t count on it.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Davante Adams (Start, WR2), Hunter Renfrow (Sit, Flex), Mack Hollins (Sit, Flex), Darren Waller (Start, TE2)
It looks unlikely that Davante Adams get suspended for this week’s game.
Bringing in Davante Adams has paid dividends already. Adams has 54 targets on the season which is 11th most in the league. He has a touchdown in all but one game. He leads the league in red zone targets with 13, catching six of them. He is the wide receiver to own from the sin city. It’s not the greatest matchup with the Texans giving up the 10th fewest points to wide receivers at 29.46. Adams will also see coverage from Steven Nelson when he is out wide. Nelson is rated 81.2 in coverage by PFF.com. Adams is lining up out wide 69% of the time. His snaps in the slot (30%) will draw coverage from Desmond King II who rated at 74.4 in coverage. Even with the coverage, I think Adams’s talent will win out and he should be a WR2 this week.
Hunter Renfrow came back after missing weeks three and four and caught all four of his targets for 25 yards. It’s a drastic decline from last year where Renfrow was averaging 7.5 targets a game. He will get King II in slot coverage. Renfrow is a great route runner but will be behind Adams in the pecking order. He only played 55% of the team’s Week 5 snaps which may be due to him coming off the concussion or could just be his usage now. Last season Renfrow only averaged 67% of the team’s snaps. He’s not out there every play so he has to be super-efficient for him to be productive for fantasy. I think he will be in the flex range but I’m not starting him
Mack Hollins has fallen off in Weeks 4 and 5 after having two very good games in Weeks 2 and 3. He is still playing on 90%+ of the team’s snaps so there is that to be hopeful about. Even with the matchup against the Texans and despite the recent down game I’m starting Hollins. He will see coverage from rookie Derek Stingley Jr. who rates out at 47.7 in coverage. He does play on most of the team’s snaps and trails Adams in routes run by nine. ( 199 to 190). Hollins plays enough snaps, and if Adams gets double-teamed or just sees tougher coverage it should open up room for Hollins. It will be interesting to see where he fits in the game plan given the extra week of preparation.
We are all mad about Darren Waller missing last week’s Monday night game. Personally, it cost me a matchup. I don’t know what kind of clarity we are going to get this week coming off the bye. Let’s start with what we do know. If Waller and Foster Moreau are both out you aren’t starting Jesper Horsted even if he is the only tight end playing. He only played on 58% of the team’s snaps. If Waller plays you have to consider playing him. He has seen five or more targets in all the games he has played. It’s not a great matchup. The Texans are giving up only 12.56 points to tight ends putting them 16th in the league. I would be okay starting Waller as a TE2 if he plays. He should have been able to rest the hamstring enough over the bye week to play. If he can’t go and it’s Moreau I don’t think you can start him. He will barely crack into the TE2 category. The knee issues worry me for him. There have to be better options available at a position you only need one of.